Lebanon Businessnews News

Airport passengers rise by five percent
More shipping by air due to security concerns
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Activity at the Rafic Hariri International Airport witnessed a rise in incoming and outgoing passengers and cargo in 2012, in parallel with a drop in transit travel.

The total number of passengers, including arrivals, departures, and transits, reached 5.9 million, up by five percent from 2011, according to the General Directorate of Civil Aviation. Incoming passengers totaled 2.8 million, up by 2.8 percent year-on-year, while the number of departing passengers rose by 8.5 percent to 3.1 million. The number of transit passengers fell by 18.8 percent to 47,189.

The number of commercial flights fell to 63,212, one percent down y-o-y. “The drop is due to the fact that Hungarian and Czech airlines stopped operation, while others decreased the extra section flights,” Nizar Khoury, head of the commercial department at Middle East Airlines (MEA), said.

Private flights plunged by 26 percent to 10,456. Khoury said the drop in private flights is mainly due to the travel warning which Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia issued to their nationals.”

Cargo transport saw a significant 14 percent increase to 84,000 tons due to the risk of land transportation through Syria. Inbound cargo amounted to 47,000 tons, while outbound cargo rose to 36,000 tons. Goods that were previously transported by land from Lebanon were rerouted through air or maritime routes. Air shipping focused on luxury items, while food and heavy industrial goods were shipped through the Port of Beirut.

Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Jan 17, 2013
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